Autonomic Cardiovascular Control in Health and Disease

Shahid Karim, Anwar Chahal, Mohammed Y. Khanji, Steffen E. Petersen, Virend K. Somers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Autonomic neural control of the cardiovascular system is formed of complex and dynamic processes able to adjust rapidly to mitigate perturbations in hemodynamics and maintain home-ostasis. Alterations in autonomic control feature in the development or progression of a multitude of diseases with wide-ranging physiological implications given the neural system’s responsibility for controlling inotropy, chronotropy, lusitropy, and dromotropy. Imbalances in sympathetic and parasympathetic neural control are also implicated in the development of arrhythmia in several cardiovascular conditions sparking interest in autonomic modulation as a form of treatment. A number of measures of autonomic function have shown prognostic significance in health and in pathological states and have undergone varying degrees of refinement, yet adoption into clinical practice remains extremely limited. The focus of this contemporary narrative review is to summarize the anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology of the cardiovascular autonomic nervous system and describe the merits and shortfalls of testing modalities available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4493-4511
Number of pages19
JournalComprehensive Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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